France hit by big chill as snow and ice warnings extended across country

Much of the northern half of France from Brittany in the west to Alsace in the east was on alert for snow and winter conditions on Tuesday as an icy spell saw temperatures plummet.

France hit by big chill as snow and ice warnings extended across country
Snow is forecast across much of the northern half of France this week. Photo: AFP

Temperatures across the north of the country plunged over the weekend, but French weather forecaster Météo France said things will get even chillier in the coming days.

By Tuesday evening 36 départements were placed on orange alert (the second highest level) on Tuesday, as weather agency Météo France warned of exceptional volumes of snow, icy roads and intense cold that required vulnerable people to take precautions.

The départments on alert are: Finistère, Morbihan, Côtes-d'Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine, Mayenne, Sarthe, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Yonne, Côte-d'Or, Doubs, Territoire de Belfort, Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, Vosges, Haute-Soâne, Aube, Seine-et-Marne, Orne, Calvados, Manche, Essonne, Yvelines, Paris, Val-d'Oise, Eure, Haut-Marne, Ain, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine, Somme, Pas-de-Calais, Nord and Aisne.
On Tuesday heavy snow fell in parts of Brittany as the video below in Saint Brieuc on the north coast demonstrates.

The tweet below shows the snowy beaches in Dinard.


Earlier on Tuesday the interior ministry asked people in the areas of concern to avoid travel, and stay up to date with conditions and forecasts locally.


On Wednesday temperatures in Paris are set to fall to -5C, while the Hauts-de-France region will be -10C.

“This week promises to be very cold from the Belgian borders via the Paris Basin to Brittany,” said the forecaster.


There are also set to be significant snowfalls with up to 10cm of snow in Brittany and up to 15cm in Normandy on Tuesday, with snow also expected in the greater Paris Île-de-France region.

Météo France said it will remain very cold all week.

Meanwhile in the south of country, it will be warmer but more rain is forecast, set to worsen the flooding that parts of southern France saw last week.

Only one département in the south remains on orange alert for floods though – Charente Maritime.



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South west France on red alert for flooding

Five areas in south west France have been placed on a red weather alert for flooding as storms lash the region.

South west France on red alert for flooding
Storms are moving in to south west France over the Pyrenees. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP

Météo France has placed five départements in south west France – Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège – on a red weather alert for heavy rains and flooding.

Extremely heavy rainstorms have hit the area, with a band of storm clouds travelling along the Pyrenees, bringing the risk of avalanches in the mountains and flooding in lowland areas.

The neighbouring département of Pyrénées-Orientale is on orange alert, along with the principality of Andorra. In the north, Aisne is also on orange alert for heavy rain.

Heavy rain is expected to continue throughout Monday, gradually easing off towards the evening, although the flood alerts remain in place until Tuesday.